Thu, May 16, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Sleeping too much, too little risks health: study

EARLY TO BED:Sleeping in on weekends can increase the risk of fatal heart disease, while sleeping too little can lead to anxiety, two separate studies have found

By Luo Pi and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

New research suggests that sleeping either too much or too little on a daily basis can increase the risk of premature death, researchers said on Monday.

Sleeping more or less than the ideal range of 6.5 to 7.5 hours daily increases the risk of cardiovascular death, China Medical University Hospital sleep research center director Hang Liang-wen (杭良文) said, citing a study published this year in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study, which looked at 2,846 people who died at an average age of 64, concluded that those who slept less than six hours per day were 1.44 times more likely to die from heart disease.

Those who slept more than 7.5 hours daily were 1.41 times more likely to develop fatal heart disease, the study showed.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common cause of oversleeping as the patient’s quality of sleep is not good, Hang said.

For those who sleep too little, both the quality and length of sleep are not good, and many develop anxiety and arrhythmia as a result, he said, adding that the condition increases the risk of a heart attack.

People who oversleep often suffer from other conditions, such as depression or some form of cerebrovascular disease, said Chen Shao-tzu (陳紹祖), head of the addiction center at Hualien Tzu Chi General Hospital.

Oversleeping might also be caused by using overly strong prescriptions of sleep medication, Chen said, urging people to have their prescriptions regularly checked by doctors.

Research published by the European Sleep Research Society in the academic journal Sleep last year found that sleeping extra hours on one’s day off from work can also increase the risk of fatal heart disease, he said.

The society’s study followed 43,880 people for 13 years and found that middle-aged people under the age of 65 who slept less than five hours per day, or slept more than one extra hour on each of their days off, were 1.52 times more likely to die from a heart attack.

Those who sleep in on their days off typically stay up late the night before, which results in a condition known as “social jet lag,” where the body’s biological cycle becomes confused, he said.

The condition could affect one’s memory and concentration on the first few days after their day off, and affect work performance and reaction time, he said.

Additionally, research had linked poor sleep habits with obesity, he said.

One study in Japan involving 2,600 people aged 40 to 59 found that those who slept less than six hours per day were 2.46 times more likely to be obese than those who slept seven to nine hours, he said.

This is because the body tends to excrete more ghrelin (also known as the “hunger hormone”) when the body is sleep-deprived, he said, adding that there was a corresponding decrease in the hunger-inhibiting hormone leptin when this occurred.

Another study conducted in 2014 by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard medical researcher Sanjay R. Patel, found that people were 1.23 times more likely to be obese for every additional hour they napped during the day.

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